$35,000 reward offered in death of Ohio police detective


CLEVELAND, Ohio (AP) — Officials in Cleveland have announced reward money totaling up to $35,000 for information in the death of a police detective killed in the line of duty along with a civilian last week.

The city’s mayor, safety director and police chief said Sunday night the reward was being offered for information leading to the identity and prosecution of the person or people involved in Thursday night’s killing of Detective James Skernivitz.

Fifty-three-year-old Skernivitz, a 25-year member of the force who had just joined a federal anti-violence task force, was shot along with 50-year-old Scott Dingess as they sat in the officer’s unmarked car during a drug operation on the city’s west side.

Police said Friday two juveniles and an adult were taken into custody on unrelated arrest warrants. Police issued another plea Sunday for information from the public in the case, saying that three “persons of interest” had been identified but charges hadn’t yet been filed.

A Cleveland police official knowledgeable about some details of the shooting but not authorized to speak publicly told The Associated Press that Skernivitz had been working undercover as part of a drug operation and Dingess was a police informant.

Skernivitz and other law enforcement officers had been sworn in a day earlier as part of an FBI task force in support of a crackdown on violent crime, but officials haven’t said whether Skernivitz was working Thursday night as part of the task force or on the Cleveland police gang unit to which he was normally assigned.

Officials said the FBI was offering up to $25,000 in addition to the $10,000 offered by Crimestoppers of Cuyahoga County.